Most students grasp the concept of a dissertation; you’ve selected a topic and, ideally, your research proposal has been approved. Fantastic! Now it’s time to start the dissertation writing process.

To write a high-quality paper, the first thing you must understand is dissertation structure. In this post, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to make the most effective dissertation structure and layout. Let’s begin with a general bigger picture, then move forward with a brief discussion on each chapter and its constituents. If you’re fresh on your research journey, you should start with simple dissertation writing tips. which cover the overall process of how to write a dissertation and explore ways to tackle issues.

In this post, we’ll be discussing a traditional dissertation structure and optimising dissertation layout, which is commonly used for scientific research at universities in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia. However, a few colleges may have minor variations on this structure.

Before you jump into it, always check with your university to determine if they have a specific dissertation layout or structure that they expect you to follow. If not, it is safe to suppose that the structure we will discuss here is appropriate. Even if they have a prescribed structure, you’ll get value from this post because we’ll explain the main contents of each section and the steps to structuring a dissertation.

Let’s see the dissertation chapter structure!

Let our subject specialists help you write your dissertation as per your requirements at significantly affordable prices!
302 qualified specialists online

It's fast and risk-free

Overview: Structuring a dissertation

  • Title page
  • Acknowledgements page
  • Abstract (or executive summary)
  • Table of contents, list of figures and tables
  • The main chapters
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Literature Review
  • Chapter 3: Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Results
  • Chapter 5: Discussion
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion
  • Reference list
  • Appendix

As we have mentioned above, some educational institutions will have minor modifications to this structure, so structuring your thesis properly is very important. For example, they may want an additional “personal reflection chapter” or the outcomes and discussion chapters combined into one.

So, planning your dissertation structure according to your professor’s guidelines must be taken seriously.

Now that we’ve discussed the big picture, let’s dive into the specifics of each section and chapter. Oh and by the way, you can also buy dissertation to help speed things up.

Before digging deep into the structure of a dissertation, first, you need to select the best dissertation topics.

Easy Steps to Structuring a Dissertation

Here are the tips for crafting a well-structured dissertation, see below:

Title page

As a reader, the very first impression comes from the title page of your dissertation. Spending some time to think about it is necessary to give a better first impression. But, what makes an excellent title? Three things must be present to make a strong title:

  • Succinct (not too lengthy)
  • Specific (not unclear or ambiguous).
  • Representative of the research you’re conducting (clearly related to your research questions)

Again, some universities could have specific requirements for the format and structural elements of a dissertation, so it is important to double-check requirements with your institution.


This page allows you to express gratitude to those who assisted you throughout your research journey. In general, it is optional (and will not affect your grades), but it is academic best practice if you do it.

Abstract or executive summary

The dissertation abstract (or short summary for some degrees) acts to provide the first-time reader with a comprehensive view of your research project. It is one of the most important dissertation structure elements. It should provide them with an understanding of the research’s key insights and findings without requiring them to read the entire report. In other words, it should be capable of functioning on its own.

To stand alone, your abstract should include the following key points:

  • Your research questions and aims
  • Your methodology
  • Your findings
  • Your conclusions

In practice, it’s best to write this section last, after you’ve finished your main chapters. Otherwise, you’ll have to write and rewrite this section several times (it’s like a waste of time). Also, you should know about writing the dissertation draft to easily modify the content.

For getting dissertation help online on how to write a strong executive summary, check out reputable writing services.

Never Miss Your Deadlines! We work on your projects diligently and deliver it under the agreed upon timeframe, so you will always meet your deadlines without any delays.

It's fast and risk-free

Table of contents

This section is simple and basic. You’ll usually present your table of contents (TOC) first, followed by the two lists, figures, and tables. We recommend using Microsoft Word’s automatic table of contents generator to create your TOC.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Now that you’ve completed the “admin” sections, it’s time to move on to the essential chapters. These chapters are crucial to your dissertation and where you will receive your grades. The first chapter is the introduction chapter, as expected; this is where you introduce your research.

To write a perfect dissertation, you’ll need to follow Dissertation writing tips.

It is important to understand that, while your abstract provides an overview of your research, your introduction must be written as if the reader has not read it.

Hence, begin your introduction with very basic information addressing the following questions:

  • What will you be investigating?
  • Why is that worth investigating?
  • What are your research aims and research questions?
  • What is the scope of your study?
  • How will you approach your research?
  • How will you structure your dissertation?

If completed correctly, your introduction chapter will provide a clear direction for the remaining parts of your dissertation. Specifically, it will elucidate to the reader what you’ll be exploring, why it holds significance, and the methodology for conducting the investigation.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

After you’ve established a clear direction with your introduction chapter, the following step is a literature review. In this part, you will assess the existing research (which is usually academic journal articles and high-quality industry documents) to answer the following questions:

  • What is the current state of the literature on the topic under investigation?
  • Is the literature lacking or well-established? Is it divided or in disagreement?
  • How does your research relate to the stronger envision?
  • How does your research contribute to something original?
  • How does previous research methodology help you to write your own?

Based on the nature of your research, you may also present a conceptual framework near the end of your literature review, which will be tested in your actual research.

Chapter 3: Methodology

Now that you’ve looked into the current state of knowledge in your literature review chapter and are comfortable with the existing key theories, models, and frameworks, it’s time to plan your own research.

In this chapter, you need to entertain two critical questions:

  • Exactly how will you conduct your research? (that is what is your intended research design)?
  • Exactly Why did you pick to do things this way? (that is how do you justify your design)?

Remember, the dissertation component of your degree is primarily about learning and demonstrating research skills. As a result, the reader wants to see that you know what techniques to use, can explain why you chose them and understand how to use them effectively.

Importantly, this chapter requires detail; do not hold back on specifics. Specify exactly what you’ll be doing, with whom, when, and for how long. Additionally, be sure to provide logic for all of your decisions regarding layout.

Chapter 4: Results

You have now gathered your data and conducted your analysis, whether qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods. In this chapter, you will present the raw analysis results. For example, in a quantitative study, you would present demographic information, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and so on.

Chapter 5: Discussion

Now that you’ve presented your data analysis findings, it’s time to interpret and analyse them. In other words, it’s time to discuss what they mean, particularly in light of your research questions.

Your chosen methodology will have a significant impact on what you discuss here. For example, if you’ve chosen the quantitative approach, you could discuss the relationships between variables. If you took the qualitative approach, you might talk about key themes and their meanings. It all depends on the research design choices you made.

Chapter 6: Conclusion

You’ve made it to the final chapter! Now that you’ve presented your perspective on the results, it’s time to return to the beginning with the conclusion chapter. In other words, it’s time to answer the original research questions and start crafting a cohesive dissertation. Clearly state your conclusions about your research questions. This may seem repetitive, as you touched on it in the previous chapter, but it is critical to bring the discussion full circle and explicitly state your responses to the research questions.

Lastly, you should talk about the shortcomings of your study and how they will affect further research in the same area. No study is flawless, especially at the Master’s level. Discuss the limitations of your research.

Reference list

The reference list is simple and easy. It should include a list of all resources cited in your dissertation, in the appropriate format (e.g., APA, Harvard).

You must use reference management software in your dissertation. Do NOT try to do your referencing manually; it is far too error-prone. You will make mistakes on a reference list that spans multiple pages.


The appendix, or collection of appendices, serves as the final component of the puzzle. This is where you will put any supporting data and evidence. Importantly, “support” is the keyword here.

Your appendices should include “nice to know” or depth-adding information that is not critical to the core analysis. It is not appropriate to use appendices to reduce the word count. In other words, don’t include content that is essential to the fundamental analysis just to save words.

How Can Writing Services Help you with your Dissertation?

If you are still not sure about how to structure a dissertation or thesis, or if you lack motivation to start your dissertation task, you may be interested in using a dissertation writing service.

Whether you need help with individual chapters, choosing a dissertation topic, proposals, or the entire dissertation paper, they have PhD-qualified writers who will complete your paper to the highest academic standards.

Wrap it Up

To sum up, the process of writing a dissertation can be rewarding and difficult at the same time. You can effectively communicate your ideas by organising your document and comprehending its essential elements.

Remember that following dissertation organisation techniques is essential. Instructors and viewers are expecting work that will increase their understanding of this subject. So it’s important to be organised with all aspects of it, from writing skills down to research accuracy.

If you are struggling to write an effective and successful dissertation, seek help from a dissertation writing service.